Love... the relentless force that makes the world go 'round, gives us that extra pep in our step when we jump out of bed in the morning, fills us with limitless joy and encourages us to pursue our dreams and live from our hearts. Love, they say, is a reflection of our true selves. Love can bond you with another and inspires you to be the best version of yourself. In an intimate relationship, love may be the backbone of support; but, for a relationship to thrive, you need more than love.
'What more could you need?' you ask.
There are multiple other sources of foundational support in a healthy and loving relationship - here are 5 of them:
A healthy relationship is characterized by equality. Self and Relationship Coach, Jennifer Twardowski advises that no one person has more power - let alone control - over decisions that a couple should be making as a united front. We are not talking about control over the remote on movie night, but when it comes to finances, living arrangement and other lifestyle-driven qualities, both partners need to have an equal say with equal control highlighting an individual’s strength. Thus, everything is 50-50.
2. Honesty is the best policy.
According to the University of Washington’s Health and Wellness Advocacy program, in a healthy relationship, each partner needs to feel safe about being candid regarding his/her thoughts and feelings about the relationship. Positive or negative, couples should feel comfortable and safe to air their feelings. Partnership established from a foundation of open communication and respect, opens paths for listening and speaking. By communicating clearly with one another, each partner will be empowered to grow in their goals and beliefs while simultaneously growing the depth of the relationship.
In a healthy relationship, partners love one another because of - not in spite of - their unique personality and character traits. Likewise, it's unhealthy to maintain a relationship in the hopes of changing another person - and frequently, any change that does result in this situation is superficial. Practicing acceptance means that you are letting go of any illusions you might cling to about another person, and welcoming their authentic, true selves - warts and all.
4. Personal Responsibility
You cannot expect your partner to fulfill your every emotional need and desire. Your partner will not "complete" you - instead, you must take personal responsibility for your own happiness, stability, independence and sense of contentment. A relationship where each partner is independent, healthy and self-sufficient is less likely to be co-dependent and needy. Instead, if both members are responsible for their own happiness, then they can truly come together and contribute to the relationship in equal ways.
5. Agree to Disagree.
No two people are going to be on the same page at the same time all the time. Disagreements are bound to happen! In a healthy relationship, conflict can be a sign of openness and comfort - and, when resolved healthfully, can make relationships stronger. No problem or ego-driven desire to “win the argument” should ever trump the value of the relationship - ultimately, consider the larger picture. In nearly every conflict, we can agree that the relationship is more important than the disagreement. People in loving, healthy relationships will choose the health of the relationship over victory in an argument.
A relationship need not be perfect in order to be perfect for you. This October, we are joining with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence to Spread Love, and we urge you to join, as well! If you'd like to receive more blogs and updates like this one, please sign up here.